6 Tips for Using People in Your Landscape Photos

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While landscape photography and portraiture can seem to be very separate fields, the truth is that they can easily overlap. One of the most compelling ways to tell the story of a landscape is to show humans in context. If you struggle to add people to your landscape images effectively, or you have never tried it before, these tips will help you take it to the next level.

Decide on Your Subject

What is your subject: the landscape, or the person in it? This is a question that you have to ask yourself first.

The answer cannot be both. When you look at your image, it will always skew to one side or the other: are you telling a story about the place, or about the person within it? It could well be that your story is about how well the person and the landscape fit together. But in this case, your question is: does the person fit into the landscape, or the landscape fit the person?

Once you identify your subject clearly, you can frame and structure your image accordingly. When the person is the focus, you will want to see more of them, have them in a prominent position such as centered or along the lines for the rule of thirds, and have them be the most noticeable part of the image.

If the landscape is your star, then you may want to have your person or people smaller, off in the distance, or hidden away. You will want people to look at the landscape first, and notice the figures later.

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